by Terry Cooch of TLC Home
You know you should only keep what you use and love; you’ve read it in every one of your organizing books, but you can't standthe waste of parting with useful items that you spent good money on, and no one will convince you otherwise. However, you aretoying with idea of simplifying and are willing to try it in baby steps.
These tips are to help you organize what you already own and lessen the need to shop for more. The purpose isn’t to create a more comfortable and efficient station for sitting by the phone to order products from TV infomercials or creating a Favorites List of your Top Ten Email Shopping Sites. You probably have enough stuff anyway.
Take the quiz below to determine if you are a good candidate for The Shop-at-Home Method of Organizing, or Baby-Stepping it to Organization. Check all of the following that apply to you:
- You have mega surpluses of useful, practical items: cleaning supplies galore, candles out the... well, you have a lot of candles.
- You love to collect gifts, but can’t find them when you need them.
- You have a year's worth of home improvement supplies, new in the package.
- Office supplies are overflowing from every drawer in your home.
- You’ve got some cool gadgets; you don’t use them, but you know you will someday.
- There isn’t a craft you aren’t prepared to make, as soon as you have time.
- You truly don’t know what some things you own are, but they were good deals.
Checking even one of the above indicates you are a perfect candidate for using a baby-step method of organization. A slow and steady method to organizing your home is the only way to get back in balance – no cold-turkey for you. If after thinning out your cabinets, closets, shelves, drawers and most of the visible surfaces in your home, you’ve reduced the quantities to amounts that acknowledge the boundaries of each space and create simplicity of use but you still really, really want to hold on to the remaining useful items, read on:
Categorize your Keeps. Sort your belongings according to where you would go to purchase them. Set up bins and label with broad category titles such as Bed Bath and Beyond, Office Depot, Sharper Image, Michaels, etc. (Refer to quiz above to determine which are appropriate.)
Sub-sort as needed. Bins that contain a large variety or high volume of items may need a sub-sort. Further categorize these items into containers according to the store aisle in which you would find them: Bed Bath & Beyond - Storage, or Michaels - Scrapbooking.
Make access fun and easy. Select an area of your home that does not interfere with daily activities: an extra dresser in a guest room, a set of shelves in a utility closet, or a wall full of shelves in an unfinished basement. Nickname this area "The Mall or Festival at your name here."
Add good signage. Assign each space (drawer, shelf or set of shelves) a store’s name. Contain the sub-sorted items separately and label those also. If you have several sets of shelves, each unit is a store, and each shelf is an aisle. You could sub-sort those as well: Office Depot - School Supplies - Writing Supplies.
Shop at home, not from home. Maintain your system by using it. When you run out of something check out your own store first before making a purchase. Should new arrivals come in, get them to their proper location: Store - Aisle - Section.
Consider a clearance sale. Be sure to re-evaluate in a year. Examine how much of your inventory has been used. Ask yourself, "Do I have more than I’ll use?" Have any of the items that you thought you might use, been used? Could any of this go to better use elsewhere?
Share with friends, donate, or sell. Take another step toward organization by parting with what you can. Forgive yourself for the spending mistakes you may have made and enjoy knowing that your surplus stock will be used. Then next year, take another step.
© 2012 Terry Cooch, TLC Home. All Rights Reserved.
Terry L. Cooch is an author, professional organizer and owner of TLC Home. She works one-on-one to help individuals conquer clutter and chaos, eliminate stress, and save time and money by providing organizational solutions that fit their lifestyle.